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Washington state considers the future of its cannabis industry

4/6/21--Business law attorney Hilary Bricken states in a recent article that she has no doubt that Washington will eventually be a state that can rock the stage in the U.S. cannabis market. Furthermore, she states her feeling that major change is on the horizon at some point to hopefully ensure that the State is among the group of states that drives national trends on cultivation, distribution, product and brand development, and cannabis tourism. Read

Court’s drug possession ruling upends WA’s criminal justice system

3/12/21--In the Blake decision, the Washington Supreme Court voided most drug possession cases in the state. For advocates of drug policy reform and those in the world of criminal defense, the ruling “was a much-needed nail in the coffin on the war on drugs,” according to Ali Hohman, director of legal services at the Washington Defender Association. Meanwhile, many prosecutors, law enforcement officials and lawmakers are nervous about its implications. Read

Seattle homeless shelter buys heroin pipes with funds, teaches rectal injection method

2/22/21--A Seattle-backed homeless shelter, The Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC), is instructing addicts to smoke heroin and inject drugs rectally, and the shelter is using tax dollars to help get addicts high. Read

Comment: Don’t ignore science on cannabis concentrates’ potency

2/7/21--State Rep. Lauren Davis, D-Lynnwood, founding executive director of the Washington Recovery Alliance who also represents the 32nd District, presents and emphasizes in a commentary published in HeraldNet that lawmakers must address research that shows these concentrates can have mental health consequences. Read

Media Advisory: Public hearing for Davis bill addressing serious mental health consequences of high-potency cannabis products by regulating the sale of cannabis concentrates

2/10/21--A public hearing for House Bill 1463—Addressing serious mental health consequences of high-potency cannabis products by regulating the sale of cannabis concentrates will occur on Friday, February 12 at 10am at the House Commerce and Gaming Committee. Read

Washington could become the second state to decriminalize drugs

2/4/21--On Thursday, state lawmakers and advocacy groups in Washington announced a plan to decriminalize possession of small amounts of heroin, cocaine and other drugs. A bill introduced in the state Legislature would make Washington the second state in the nation to legalize the personal use of all drugs, ranging from psychedelic mushrooms to opiates. The measure would also pour state money into treatment and community-based intervention programs. Read

Possession charges re-ignite calls for psychedelic decriminalization in Port Townsend

1/19/21--Advocates for the decriminalization of psychedelic substances are calling for the Jefferson County prosecuting attorney to drop charges against a Kent resident arrested in November for alleged possession of “magic mushrooms.” The arrest has since prompted much public interest. Port Townsend and the Jefferson County residents, healthcare practitioners and others are asking that the charge be dropped and calling for officials to decriminalize possession of “entheogenic plants.” Read

Effects of Marijuana Legalization on Law Enforcement and Crime: Final Report

7/31/20--Effects of Marijuana Legalization on Law Enforcement and Crime: Final Report is comprised of constructed case study profiles and assessed qualitative (focus groups, interviews) and quantitative (Uniform Crime Reporting Program or UCR, calls for service records, and body/dash camera footage) data regarding how police practices and strategies, and crime itself, have been affected by legalization in Washington, and how that watershed decision in Washington has changed policing in adjacent border areas. Read

Marijuana Legalization and Youth Marijuana, Alcohol, and Cigarette Use and Norms

7/9/20--This study tests whether nonmedical marijuana legalization predicts a higher likelihood of teen marijuana, alcohol, or cigarette use or lower perceived harm from marijuana use in a longitudinal sample of youth aged 10–20 years. Results indicated that it is important to consider recent broad declines in youth substance use when evaluating the impact of nonmedical marijuana legalization. Furthermore, states that legalize nonmedical marijuana for adults should increase resources for the prevention of underage marijuana and alcohol use. Read

Legal marijuana may be slowing reductions in teen marijuana use, study says

7/20/20--The legalization of marijuana for Washington state adults may be thwarting a steady downward trend in teen marijuana use, according to new research from the University of Washington. The longitudinal study of more than 230 teens and young adults finds that teens may be more likely to use marijuana following legalization — with the proliferation of stores and increasing adult use of the drug — than they otherwise would have been. Read

Washington State drug decriminalization activists shift from ballot to legislature

6/25/20--Treatment First WA announced on Wednesday the campaign initially established to decriminalize drugs and expand substance misuse treatment in Washington State will no longer pursue an effort to place the policy change on the November ballot. Instead, the will be pressing the legislature to enact the reform during next year. Read

Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board | Canopy Project 2020

6/1/20--The canopy project, started in 2017, provides supplemental information about the physical size of plants grown in Washington. This data is a helpful supplement to both the state traceability and licensing systems because it provides firsthand information about the size of marijuana plants, a data point not captured by either system. Read

King County providing beer, cigarettes to keep addicts in quarantine

4/30/20--King County officials are giving addicts beer, cigarettes - and until recently marijuana - so they won't leave a recovery center. Officials with the Department of Human and Community Services call it harm reduction and point out no tax payer money is being used. Some neighbors said it makes sense. Others called it a big mistake. Read

To weed or not to weed: Local budtenders weigh health concerns with showing up to shifts

4/6/20--Cannabis shops and liquor stores that sell food were among the few businesses that Gov. Jay Inslee deemed essential, requiring numerous adjustments to stay open while abiding by both social distancing and cannabis sale regulations. However, despite being deemed an "essential business," some service workers don’t feel protected by the current state rules and business practices leaving some having to decide either to risk their health by showing up to work, or risk their economic stability by not showing up to work. Read

Washington legislature passes bill aiming to diversify cannabis industry

3/13/20--The legislation, which passed through the House 57-40 Tuesday, creates a task force that will help create the Marijuana Social Equity Program. It would allow the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) to issue forfeited, canceled and revoked retail licenses to applicants in communities disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. The program would last for eight years. Read

Cannabis farm near Anacortes was center of alleged $4.85 million Ponzi scheme

2/2/20--Robert W. Russell is accused of using Green Acre Pharms in an elaborate Ponzi scheme that, from 2015 to 2017, took in $4.85 million from at least two dozen investors in Washington, Arizona, California and Texas, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Investors, many of them using retirement funds or family loans, were enticed by promises of enormous profits from Russell’s farm, according to an SEC complaint filed Jan. 21 in federal court in Santa Ana, California. Read

WSU partners with California company in hopes of receiving marijuana for research

11/11/19--Washington State University has made a deal with a California-based company in hopes of attaining pharmacy-grade marijuana for future study. The school’s Collaborative for Cannabis Policy, Research and Outreach announced the partnership with Biopharmaceutical Research Co. in a news release last week. Read

Maternal marijuana exposure and birth weight: An observational study surrounding recreational marijuana legalization

8/23/19--A study to examine the relationship between prenatal marijuana and infant birth weight using natural cohorts established before, during and after the 20-month lapse between legalization and legal recreational sales in Washington State revealed marijuana exposure verified by UDS was associated with LBW and SGA. However, recreational marijuana legalization and availability did not have direct impact on newborns' risk of LBW or SGA. Read

The Great Seattle Pot Heist

8/22/19--Growers fear that the system put in place to ensure transparency and accountability in the newly legalized industry may also leave a data trail that leads thieves straight to their doors, right when the pickings are fattest. They complain that while Washington is busy policing them, state officials aren’t paying nearly enough attention to catching the actual criminals, or tracking the marijuana that is being diverted to illegal markets out of state. Read

Legalizing marijuana not a trigger for teen toking

7/9/19--According to a new study surveying more than 1.4 million U.S. high school students, legalizing marijuana does not encourage pot use among teenagers, and it may actually discourage them from smoking weed. And teen marijuana use actually seems to decline in states that have gone further and legalized recreational pot, researchers report online in the July 8 issue of the journal JAMA Pediatrics. Read

Marijuana manpower: Those kids you gave summer jobs to, yeah, they’re probably stoned

7/9/19--A team of researchers at the Washington State University College Of Nursing say they have evidence showing that gainfully employed minors in their neck of the woods are more likely to use marijuana than those who are non-working. The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, reads in part, "Among working 12th graders, marijuana use increased significantly over time relative to non-working youth. … Associations were stronger for youth who worked more hours per week." Read

‘Get Weed’ billboard gets unrelated Tumwater auto shop boycotted

6/14/19--Controversy erupted over Integrity Car Care in Tumwater this week. High above the car repair shop stands a billboard for a marijuana business stating “Get Weed.” This prompted the local community to start a boycott. However, the shop doesn’t own, nor does it have anything to do with the billboard. Read

Study will examine prenatal marijuana use on infant development

5/10/19--Researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine are recruiting pregnant women to participate in their "Moms + Marijuana" study. The study will analyze whether prenatal marijuana use -- primarily to control nausea, and in the absence of alcohol, tobacco and any illicit drugs -- affects their child's brain development and cognitive, motor and social skills. Read

Most Washington teens report using marijuana less often since legalization

3/15/19--Marijuana use went down significantly among the state's 8th and 10th graders after it was legalized in Washington, according to a new study by WSU. The study looked into whether legalizing marijuana made any difference among 8th and 10th graders, plus high school seniors who work in jobs. Read

Unintentional pediatric marijuana exposures prior to and after legalization and commercial availability of recreational marijuana in Washington State

3/4/19--According to a study presented in The Journal of Emergency Medicine, reported unintentional pediatric marijuana exposure has increased in the state of Washington since recreational marijuana was legalized, which often presents as altered mental status with unknown cause. As marijuana becomes more available, clinicians should be aware of the risk of unintentional pediatric marijuana exposure, and this should inform lawmakers regarding regulations around childhood exposure to marijuana. Read

Marijuana use and driving in Washington State: Risk perceptions and behaviors before and after implementation of retail sales

3/1/19--Washington is among the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana. This study examined marijuana use and risk perceptions before and after retail sales of recreational marijuana began in July 2014, the relationship between risk perceptions and marijuana use, and the relationship between self-reported marijuana use and drug test results. The study concluded that the prevalence of daytime THC-positive drivers increased substantially a few months after retail sales of marijuana were legal. Read

Critics question direction of CSU cannabis research

3/3/19--Denver's only cannabis research center is proceeding with developing a seed-to-sale marijuana-tracking system that no one in the industry says they want. That tracking system was the mandate of a bill introduced into the Legislature during last year's session that lawmakers rejected twice, primarily because the state's marijuana industry loudly told them they don't want to add a foreign substance to their product. Read

Washington Supreme Court rules against initiative to block public funding of safe-injection sites

12/6/18--The Washington state Supreme Court unanimously struck down a proposed county initiative that would have allowed voters to decide whether to ban public funding for safe-injection sites. The court found that Initiative 27 — slated for the February 2018 ballot before being rejected by a King County judge last year — infringed on the authority of the Metropolitan King County Council. Read

Can data storytelling help save local journalism?

11/16/18--A small team of KING journalists worked for two months with Microsoft's Modern Journalism Program and Power BI experts to analyze mounds of public records, turning them into visually rich stories told with graphics and animations. The pilot’s mission followed one of the highest principles of TV news: unraveling crucial if not complicated topics to offer easy-to-understand stories that help local viewers better understand their world. Jake Whittenberg, reporter and anchor with KING-TV in Seattle, says, “We wanted to find a model that could support the kind of storytelling and the kind of journalism that, frankly, we need to get back to.” Read

Washington issues its first marijuana research license

11/19/18--The Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board says it has issued the state's first license to grow marijuana for research. Verda Bio Research in Seattle says it will be growing marijuana to conduct basic research on some of the plant's lesser-known compounds. Read

The “real” number of Washington State adolescents using marijuana, and why: A misclassification analysis

10/26/18--Approximately 12% of Washington adolescents claimed to have used marijuana in the past 30 days. Estimates indicate this figure is likely closer to 18%. Determinants of use included use of other substances, gender, age, and measures of deviant social influences, personality/attitude, school and family bonds, bullying, and acquisition ease, while determinants of misreporting included use of other substances, gender, parental education, and family bonds. Failing to control for misreporting considerably underestimates the prevalence of marijuana use among adolescents. Read

Washington State prepares to rewrite marijuana testing and packaging rules

8/9/18--Marijuana regulators in Washington State will entertain sweeping changes to how marijuana is tested, processed, packaged, and sold in one of the U.S.’s oldest recreational marijuana markets, officials announced late Wednesday. Read

Legal weed isn’t the boon small businesses thought it would be

12/29/17--The data behind the first four years of legal pot sales, with drops in retail prices and an increase in well-funded cannabis growing operations, shows a market that increasingly favors big businesses with deep pockets. As legal weed keeps expanding, pot prices are likely to continue to decline, making the odds of running a profitable small pot farm even longer. Read

Washington state halts issuing of hemp licenses, citing budget shortfall

12/5/17--Washington has stopped issuing hemp licenses because the program is too expensive. The Washington Department of Agriculture won’t issue hemp licenses for 2018 unless state lawmakers devote $313,000 to the program, according to Capital Press, which covers agriculture for six Western states. Read

Random drug tests after DUI arrest ruled unconstitutional by Washington Supreme Court

10/5/17--Requiring people who are arrested for driving under the influence to submit to random urinalysis tests as a condition of release is unconstitutional, the Washington Supreme Court ruled. “Urinalysis is at least as invasive as a roadblock or a pat down search,” the Supreme Court said, concluding that court-ordered testing “constitutes an acute privacy invasion by the state.” Read

Marijuana & driving: Experts struggle to find ways to measure, assess impairment

10/1/17--The number of fatal Washington crashes involving drivers with marijuana in their system rose to 79 last year — more than double that of 2012 when voters legalized its recreational use. However, experts caution the statistics focus only on fatal crashes and don’t provide a complete picture of the impact pot is having on road safety. No statewide data is kept on serious injury accidents involving marijuana because of reporting inconsistencies by local police agencies, according to the safety commission. Researchers are studying if current methods of testing for marijuana impairment and whether the current legal limit of THC in a person’s system is an accurate assessment of impairment. Read

Can we trust pot labs? Suspensions show the state has failed to keep bad weed out of pot shops

9/13/17--According to an article by Lester Black published in The Stranger, lab audits commissioned by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB), the state agency that regulates recreational cannabis, indicate that the state might not be doing its job in keeping bad weed out of pot shops. The audit found that the lab was also using poor lab practices in calculating THC potency, a key indicator in pricing retail cannabis—where the higher the THC, the higher the price. Read

Legal marijuana bringing sweet smell of success for producers, city

8/26/17--With local voters favoring legalization, the city of Arlington is poised for economic development. The mainstreaming of marijuana is big business in Arlington, creating jobs and revenue while becoming good corporate partners with the community to address pressing social issues and lending a hand through volunteer projects. The city counts 14 producers inside the city limits, and 30 overall with an Arlington address, ranging from intimate mom and pop farm growers to industry leaders. Read

You can now get high just drinking water

8/9/17--PEARL2O, a brand-new product in Washington's legal market, is a mineral water that doesn't smell or taste like pot in any way, but it will still get you high. The water can be frozen into ice cubes, it can be blended into a smoothie, and it can even be boiled while retaining the active THC and CBD. According to Shanel Lindsay, a cannabis entrepreneur and lawyer who has more than a decade of industrial experience with pot edibles, says PEARL2O was probably made with a machine that uses ultrasound waves to combine a distilled cannabis concentrate with water. Read

Pesticide and Fertilizer Use on Marijuana in Washington

8/28/17--To assist growers who use pesticides for the production of marijuana in Washington, WSDA has developed a list of pesticides that meet WSDA Criteria for use on marijuana. The list only includes registered pesticides that are allowable for use on marijuana as defined by the above criteria. The list has been provided to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board and the Washington State Department of Health and will be updated by WSDA as needed. Read

What actually happened to violent crime after Washington legalized marijuana

7/26/17--An upcoming report from a U.S. Department of Justice task force is expected to link marijuana use to violent crime, which some fear might signal the start of a Trump administration crackdown on weed. Since voters approved Initiative 502, FBI crime statistics show lower rates of violent crime in Washington than before legalization. Other data compiled by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs showed some fluctuations in violent crime rates but still found no statistically significant increase. Read

Driver was 54 times over legal limit for marijuana

7/18/17--A Lynnwood man arrested after a hit-and-run along I-5 in Shoreline in May was later found to have had 54-times the legal limit of marijuana in his system, according to Washington State Patrol. The results of the test were delivered in July and showed the 53-year-old had 270 nanograms of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in his system. The legal limit in Washington state is 5 nano grams. Read

Marijuana, taxes key topics in Woodland city council race

7/21/17--At least two Woodland City Council candidates, Nate Cook and Keith Bellisle, want to see the city’s ban on recreational marijuana stores lifted, and a third, Dave Plaza, said he’s open to the idea, too. Marijuana is just one of many topics the three candidates have to debate as they compete to replace outgoing council member Marilee McCall for the Position No. 3. Read

Depression among young teens linked to cannabis use at 18

7/17/17--A study looking at the cumulative effects of depression in youth found that young people with chronic or severe forms of depression were at elevated risk for developing a problem with cannabis in later adolescence. Read

Beavercreek property owners file racketeering suit against neighbors growing marijuana

7/5/17--Rachel McCart and Erin McCart, two Beavercreek property owners who own about 11 acres of fenced pastures and woodland off South Highland Crest Drive, are suing their neighbors, contending that they are engaged in racketeering by producing and selling marijuana. The McCarts argue that any business producing or selling marijuana is a criminal enterprise, and those who participate in the business should be subject to civil liability for causing injury to others. Read

Bellingham selectmen favor marijuana grow facility

6/26/17--The Board of Selectmen voted to issue a letter of non-opposition to Evergreen Farms, a possible medical marijuana grow facility in town. The board heard a presentation in favor of a dispensary, but selectmen suggested a grow facility as a more agreeable alternative. Representatives from Evergreen Farms said they would be amenable to such a change. After receiving the letter, they would then have to apply to the state for approval, and then return to the town to negotiate a host-community agreement. Read

W. Richland objects to ‘donut hole’ cannabis shop

6/21/17--West Richland is asking the Washington State Liquor & Cannabis Board to revoke a license that would allow a marijuana store to open in a house near a preschool. The city says it wasn’t given the chance to evaluate the plan for a property that is completely surrounded by the city in an unincorporated Benton County “donut hole.” Benton County considered a similar ban in 2015, but has taken no action so it is allowed. However, state law limits where they can be located. Read

Man charged with marijuana manufacture after house fire

6/14/17--Matthew Parham of Washington has been charged for a marijuana operation that was found during a house fire that claimed his mother's life. Read

Marijuana use during pregnancy associated with many risks, studies reveal

6/7/17--Many mothers turn to marijuana for relief of symptoms such as nausea and anxiety, yet scientific research is emerging that identifies associated risks. Using marijuana can affect a person's ability to safely care for a baby or other children. Marijuana use also decreases a person's ability to concentrate, impairs judgment, and slows response time. Read

Here’s what just changed in Washington state marijuana laws

5/23/17--A week ago, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed an omnibus marijuana bill, containing many changes to the regulations put in place in 2013 after Washington voters legalized recreational marijuana sales in 2012. The Cannabist outlines the major changes that could affect how Washingtonians and visitors experience legal weed in the state. Read

Researchers need volunteers to smoke marijuana for study

5/20/17--Researchers at Washington State University are looking for volunteers for a study to develop a breathalyzer that detects marijuana use. In accordance with Washington state law volunteers must be at least 21-years-old to participate in the study. Read

Logan Kitzhaber used marijuana, three medications before 2016 crash

5/26/17--Logan Kitzhaber, the son of former Gov. John Kitzhaber, tested positive for marijuana, two prescription medications, and another medication the day he sideswiped a motorhome last summer and sent two people to the hospital. Kitzhaber was arrested and charged with DUI, reckless driving, criminal mischief, four counts of assault, and two counts of reckless endangerment. A grand jury indicted Kitzhaber, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Read

The holidays people smoke the most marijuana

5/26/17--Cannabis sales spiked during major holidays in states where it's legal. Data on marijuana sales in the state of Washington show that consumers stock up on cannabis in the days immediately leading up to almost all holidays. Read

Cle Elum council directs staff to draft marijuana ordinance changes

5/25/17--The Cle Elum City Council directed city staff to draft changes in the city of Cle Elum’s marijuana ordinance approved last year. The council wants to amend the ordinance to limit the number of state-licensed marijuana retailers to no more than two, although it wasn’t clear whether the council would allow a replacement retailer to set up shop if one of the existing retailers closed. The council also wants to further define where state-licensed stores can operate in the city. Read

Volunteers needed to smoke pot for science

5/19/17--Researchers at Washington State University need volunteers for a study to develop a breathalyzer for pot. If successful, the study could aid in the development of a field procedure for the detection of the presence of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, and eventually help prevent vehicle accidents or deaths due to drug-impaired driving. The study is sponsored by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. It will be conducted in conjunction with the Pullman Police Department. Read

State lawmakers don’t think pot billboards should be appealing to kids

4/21/17--Washington state lawmakers are looking to crack down on roadside marijuana billboards that feature cannabis plants, cuddly animals, or other images they fear could attract children to the drug. The Legislature passed a wide-ranging set of tweaks to the state’s marijuana laws, including new rules for what can and can’t appear on pot billboards. The measure, Senate Bill 5131, awaits a signature from Gov. Jay Inslee. Read

Washington state readies to defend booming marijuana business from feds

4/6/17--Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson says it would be “deeply troubling” if federal raids were conducted against growing operations in his state. Ferguson is prepared to go toe-to-toe with the administration and strongly believes the Trump administration should respect what states are doing. "We’re the laboratories of democracy,” Ferguson said. Read

Daiber noncommittal on recreational marijuana, prefers ballot initiative

3/29/17--Bob Daiber, who serves as Madison County’s education chief, appears to be trying to straddle the marijuana-legalization issue. Apparently, he is “still researching the legalization of marijuana recreationally and cannot weigh in on one side or the other.” Capitol Fax reported that he is “in favor of a ballot initiative to allow voters to legalize marijuana of their own free will, similar to what had occurred in Colorado and Washington.” Read

Seattle police place 814 marijuana plants in protective custody

3/29/17--Seattle police recovered 814 pot plants after chasing two would-be burglars from a home in the Hillman City neighborhood Tuesday morning. The police arrested the burglars along with seizing the pot. Detectives are investigating the illegal grow operation. Read

Marijuana use declines among 10th-graders

3/26/17--Marijuana use has declined among Kitsap County 10th-graders since the drug was legalized for adult recreational use in Washington, results of the state Healthy Youth Survey show. Fifteen percent of high school sophomores surveyed in 2016 reported having used marijuana in the previous month. This reported percentage is down from the 20 percent who reported marijuana use in 2014 and 2012. Read